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Music through history

 The development of music is related to human development, so music is inseparable from the social environment, civilization and material development of man. Periods in the history of music generally correspond to periods in other arts (literature, painting). About its beginnings we can say that music has existed since man, much like dance .

The origin of music

It had great significance in the life of primitive peoples, even before civilization , but music historians do not deal with this period too much, they are more interested in the musical achievements of the cultural peoples of antiquity. Nevertheless, musicologists, studying historical sources and getting to know primitive tribes, have drawn several conclusions about music in prehistoric times:

  1. Music first served as a magical tool, which was supposed to help an action (harvest, marriage, successful hunting ...). Such music was regularly accompanied by dance, and was associated with religious ceremonies.
  2. At a more advanced stage of development, it served as a means of uplifting the fighting spirit and patriotic feelings.
  3. In an even later period, during the first division of labor, she brought joy and some rhythm to it.

The first instruments were flutes , wooden or bone, drums and percussion and, of course - the human voice , the most perfect instrument.

The music of the peoples of the Old Age

We know about the music of ancient Egypt primarily because of the various findings in Greece, with which they were in contact, and the significance of the musical culture of Egypt is precisely that Greek theories have their roots in Egypt. For the Egyptians, music was used primarily for religious ceremonies, and they knew harps, which they made artistically, flutes and sistrums (a type of metal percussion).

In China , which had a very long musical tradition, music was associated with philosophy . Their greatest philosopher Confucius taught that "music fertilizes the germs of virtue that man carries in his heart." Good music meant order, and bad music meant state . The five tones of their scale represented the five elements, and the later scale of 12 tones months in the year . They performed music at big ceremonies, and they knew a lot of instruments.

also gave an important place to music. They considered it a gift from God , which should be returned to the gods with song and music. The Indian scale seems to be very similar to the Chinese - it was pentatonic (five tones). We consider wine (with seven strings and a resonator) to be one of their oldest instruments , and they also appreciated bells. Most of this data historians draw from religious-philosophical books, the Vedas .

Music flourished in Palestine during the time of David and Solomon . To the Jews , music served in worship, but they are special because it was not a means of magic for them. They were not intoxicated by the music, but they caused a festive mood with it. They had very rich instruments, triangles, horns, drums, flutes, harps, lutes. Their singing of psalms and choral singing was taken over by medieval Catholic music.


Ancient Greece and Rome


In ancient Greece, the state took care of the development of art, and at the heart of their art was music.
Such an interest in art arises from the fact that in Greece the achievements
of culture were good for the whole nation . Although only a dozen records of Greek music have survived, we learn about it from literature, so we know that music played an important role in the state and society, youth education and, of course, mythology . For example, Apollo , the god (among others) of the sun, hence harmony and happiness, was the protector and god of music. The application of music to them was versatile: they sang lyrical songs in the choir, praised the gods with hymns, and music played an important role in the drama. There was a time when all men up to their thirties had to receive music education from state music schools. There were the Pythian Games , a musical-artistic counterpart to the Olympics . They developed a theory of music, and had scales (descending), which were named after the provinces: Doric, Phrygian and Lydian. Guitars , lyres and other string instruments were attributed the property of deepening human feelings and bringing harmony, and winds the power of excitement and ecstasy.

When the Romans conquered Greece, they took over their music, instruments and musical notation from other trumpet peoples, but they did not further promote this music, so its value fell. They did not have so much musical meaning, so the music was used to beautify the feasts of events and games, but this music was preserved by the philosopher Boetius in his work De institutione musica , on which rests the development of all today's music.


Middle Ages

The music of the Middle Ages knew two directions - church (sacral) and folk (secular) music.

Older sacred music builds on Jewish and Greco-Roman, and has taken over much from non-Christian peoples, especially Orientals, which she skillfully applied in her liturgical singing. An important part of liturgical music to this day is Gregorian chant , unanimous and unchanging church singing. He compiled and refined a collection of such Mass hymns in collaboration with his Benedictines in the book Antiphonary by Pope Gregory I , and we can call him a reformer of liturgical music

Secular music received a new type of song in the 12th century that was cultivated by troubadours (such as Arnaut Daniel ). They are most often about knightly military and love affairs, their loyalty, honesty, mercy, etc. In Germany, such singers were called Minnesängers , and they had rules ( tablature ) according to which art was taught. The jugglers were traveling musicians, persecuted by the authorities and the Church , but loved by the people because they were cheerful, humorous and frivolous, and united many professions in one. They knew how to play nine instruments, invent rhymes, juggle, imitate the voices of animals, enchant with cards and jump through four hoops ... In the 12th century, with the opening of the university, another group of traveling musicians, the Goliards, was formed. They were poor wandering students who moved in search of teachers . Unlike jugglers and troubadours, they were literate and knew Latin .



Like all other arts, music then experienced a renaissance and marked the end of ties with the Middle Ages. There is an interest in the cultural achievements of antiquity, and a desire to present antiquity in a reborn movement. A novelty is the printing of music - 60 years after Gutenberg 's invention of printing. Renaissance music is characterized by clear expression and simple forms, and the musical masters of the Renaissance include Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina , Orlando di Lassa and the Slovenian Jakob Gallus-Petelin .

A kind of connection between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance is the Gothic period . At that time the instrumentation was increased: the most widespread instrument was the vielle (German: Fiedel), the forerunner of today's string instruments. There were harp, lyre, lute (unchanged to this day), horns, flutes, bells, drums. The organ (then called the queen of instruments ), the clavichord and the harpsichord - the forerunner of the piano - also appeared .


Baroque and Rococo

The artistic style of the
Baroque is an echo of progress in all sciences , which then took shape similar to today - astronomy , mathematics and physics flourished, the capitalist system was introduced, the first newspapers were published, the post office was introduced , the globe was constructed ... very attached to the Church, more precisely the process of counter-reformation , because the Church wanted to attract believers with luxury and outward splendor. Baroque manifested itself most strongly where the Counter-Reformation was strongest - in Italy , Germany , Austria, Spain , Poland .

The greatest masters of the Baroque are Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Händel , and Henry Purcell , Couperin , Caccini , Vivaldi , Lully , Schütz are also known . Baroque is ornate, full of ornaments and curvy lines, and the music has brought a polyphonic style, labels for dynamics and tempo , and new types of works ( opera , suite , oratorio , cantata , solo concert and others).

In the second half of the 18th century, Baroque grew into Rococo , especially in France . Rococo and the beginning of the classics are called gallant style in music , and are characterized by small, charming, slender forms; it is hedonistic and not so formal. Its important representatives are the sons of JS Bach.

It is important to note that in this period, baroque in music does not always correspond to baroque in other arts (literature, painting), so it is important to look at them separately.



A new, great period began in 1730. The classic in it is the perfect unity of form and content, and it is also called the Vienna Classic . At this time the sonata form was raised to the highest degree , and the symphony , string quartet and classical opera were perfected .

The greatest masters of the classics, the Viennese classics, are the Haydn - Mozart - Beethoven trio , with Beethoven also entering Romanticism. There were many other composers, more interesting Luigi Boccherini, master of chamber music, Domenico Cimarossa, the greatest representative of the opera buffa (humorous opera), Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, author of many operas, and local composers Ivan Mane Jarnović , born of Dubrovnik parents perhaps on board in front of Dubrovnik.

Both Romanticism and Baroque are sometimes considered classics, but this is only the period from 1730 to 1820 (see below ). A more correct name would be serious music , although it is not entirely appropriate either, because classicism (classical) does not have to be serious, but it is serious in relation to modern genres.


19th century style , dominated by fantasy and emotion. It is created as a reaction to the unfulfilled promises of the French Revolution , dissatisfied and disappointed, the artist withdraws into himself, into the past - mostly the Middle Ages. He also retreats to nature , many romantic works glorify the murmur of a stream, the rustling of leaves, the seasons. Thus, by going to nature - to the countryside - the interest in folklore , the folk one, developed. This in turn encourages patriotism, so many romantics were fighters for the rights of the people.

For romanticism, shorter works, hourly thrills are important; the melody is now simple, without jumps, even simple, and now jumpy, excited, hanging. What used to be inconsistent, dissonant, is now preferred, and everything sounds good again - that is why some intervals and chords were considered dissonant in some periods and not in others. Romanticism is very rich in rhythmic and melodic elements, it always finds new interpretations. His greatest composers are Schubert , Schumann , Chopin , Wagner , Brahms , Liszt and others.


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